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Islanders get win over Blackhawks, keep playoff hopes intact

For the second night in a row, the Islanders’ playoff chances were in jeopardy.

And for the second night in a row, they did what was necessary to produce two points, even if it came in disappointing and ugly fashion, beating the Blackhawks 2-1 to keep their playoff hopes alive.

For 40 minutes, it looked like the Islanders were going to suffer a 10th loss in 10 games this season in the second end of a back-to-back.

Goaltender Ilya Sorokin backstopped the Islanders to a victory over the Blackhawks. Corey Sipkin for NY POST

Their energy was lacking and they couldn’t seem to generate scoring chances on Petr Mrazek even on shifts where they held the puck in the offensive zone.

Such was the frustration that after an ugly second period, the Islanders were booed off the ice by the home crowd, having struggled to mount any kind of push after Jason Dickinson’s first period goal gave the advances to the Blackhawks.

Failing in the third period wouldn’t have mathematically ended their playoff chances, but it would have made a wild card race a pipe dream at best.

The islanders knew it, as did everyone else.

Their chance to gain some momentum came early, when Philipp Kurashev went on hold, and the Islanders pounced on it.

With new units on the power play after a messy five-on-four rush, Bo Horvat finished Mat Barzal’s backhand behind the net to tie the game.

Then, at 9:25, Simon Holmstrom gave the Islanders the lead, throwing the puck on net from the low slot, watching it escape through Mrazek’s pads and getting enveloped in hugs.

New York Islanders left winger Matt Martin (17) fights with Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Jarred Tinordi (25) during the first period. Corey Sipkin for NY POST

The Blackhawks would have a chance to tie the game when Mike Reilly was called for holding the game just minutes after Holmstrom’s goal.

But the Islanders’ penalty kill, their kryptonite for much of the season, was successful and kept Chicago from recording a shot on goal in the two minutes.

Unlike Monday, there was no nightmare at five against six.

Bo Horvat (13) of the New York Islanders skates with the puck Corey Sipkin for NY POST

The Islanders closed this one out without drama, to the sound of cheers.

Finally, the Islanders had swept one after the other.

Not too soon. And without worrying about style issues.

New York Post

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